Author Answers with Brad Parks

The Word Nerds first met Brad back in 2009 and since then we’ve been walking that fine, fine line between fan girls and professional writing colleagues. He’s no stranger to the blog, first appearing in December 2009 and then again in February 2011.

His fourth novel in the highly entertaining Carter Ross series, “The Good Cop” released yesterday.

Since Brad’s talked all that writing shop in previous guest appearances, we took a page from the “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” folks and asked him questions about which he might not have any experience but strong opinions.

Word Nerds: What’s The Good Cop about and where did the idea come from?


Parks: THE GOOD COP came to me, of all places, while standing in an outdoor store in Hampton, Virginia, where I chanced to pass a large glass case filled with handguns. At that point, I was familiar with the gun control laws in New Jersey, which include a 30-day waiting period, a full background check, and an extensive licensure process that allows the local police chief to turn down your application for just about any reason, up to and including that he doesn’t like the cut of your jig. But I didn’t know the laws in Virginia, where I had recently relocated. So I asked the guy behind the case what they were. He basically told me that if I was a state resident and wasn’t a felon, I could walk out of the store with a handgun within twenty minutes; and, furthermore, if I had a concealed carry permit – which are relatively easy to obtain in Virginia – I could purchase as many guns as I wanted, no questions asked, and be on my merry way. Now, I had spent many years covering the impacts of gun violence in Newark. And I knew the most of the guns used to commit those crimes were illegal and had come from somewhere else. But until that moment, I didn’t understand just how easy it was to get guns elsewhere. I was struck with the realization that I could buy a trunk full of guns, file off the serial numbers, and be selling them on the streets of Newark or Camden or Philadelphia within just a few hours. From there, a fictional gun-smuggling operation – which serves as the bad guy in THE GOOD COP – was born.

Word Nerds:  You’re in the running for a Lefty and already have a Shamus and a Nero. What’s it like collecting all this “hardware” as a writer?
Parks: Am I supposed to be humble answering this one? I hope not, because I’d be lying if I said it was anything other than really frickin’ cool. It’s extremely gratifying to have my work recognized. And it’s obviously been a tremendous boon to my career. But, at the same time, I can honestly say it hasn’t changed me as a writer. It’s not like I prop the Shamus plaque and the Nero bust next to my computer as I write every morning. It’s still just me, alone with the keyboard and the characters, like it is for every other writer, award-winning or otherwise.
Word Nerds: If you could be anyone else, who would you be?
Parks: A version of me who dances better. Or maybe a version of me who plays the piano. Or a version of me with better hair. Or – if I was really lucky – all three.
Word Nerds:  What do you think of garden gnomes?
Parks: They creep me out a little bit. Okay, a lot. And, let’s be clear, I’m not against other forms of garden sculpture, or lawn art in general. I may have purchased a Digging Dog or two in my day. (And I think we can all stand behind the venerated, exalted Pink Flamingo). But gnomes? Creeee-pee. I shudder just thinking about their wrinkled hats, their hooked noses, their stumpy legs. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I – grudgingly – recognize the individual right to gnome ownership. I’m not one of those gnome prohibitionists. That still doesn’t mean I have to like it when one of them is guarding someone’s begonias.
Word Nerds: How would you get an elephant in a refrigerator? (No real elephants will be harmed in the answering of this question.)
Parks: Oh, that’s easy. I would simply empty the empty the leftovers out of my existing refrigerator. If I did that, I am quite sure there would be plenty of room left for a whole flock of elephants (pack of elephants? school of elephants? You don’t what I mean. Sorry, I don’t speak Elephant).

Word Nerds: What would you do if you inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?

Parks: I actually have a cousin who owns a pizzeria and he doesn’t take very good care of himself. So your question is not as far-fetched as you might think. As such, I can say I’ve given this one considerable thought: I would petition to have it converted into a mob front. I’m not exactly sure where I’d need to file that paperwork, or with whom (I hear the approval process can be somewhat arduous). But I’ve always wanted my very own mob front – just a nice, friendly place where I can hang out with my gangsta buddies, launder money, and hack up bodies in the back. It seems like something any real crime fiction writer should aspire to have.

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2 thoughts on “Author Answers with Brad Parks

  1. I’ve enjoyed a good laugh. Thanks for a great author interview. If I ever know I’m going to be meeting Parks, I’ll be sure to bring a garden gnome hidden in my purse to spring on him, although if he’s already had a chance to set up his pizza mob front, that is probably unwise…

  2. […] Word Nerd Recommendation: The whole series is funny but they also work as stand alones, so go pick up this one right away. Also, check out our latest interview with Brad! […]

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